Thursday, September 15, 2005

Falsely accusing boyfriend of rape

Boston AP story:
BOSTON --A woman who falsely accused her boyfriend of rape was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday for committing perjury.

Rebecca Harland, 33, was convicted on four counts of perjury for lying to a grand jury when she identified Scott Smith as the man who raped her in 1999.

Prosecutors said Harland identified Smith as her attacker to get back at him because he had left her for another woman.

Smith, 42, a limousine driver from Melrose, spent eight months in jail awaiting trial until prosecutors concluded that Harland was actually raped by an unidentified drug dealer, not Smith.

During Harland's trial, a longtime friend of hers testified that four days after the rape, Harland told her that her attacker was a drug dealer but that she had blamed Smith because he had broken off their relationship to be with another woman. Harland's friend did not tell authorities about the conversation until months later when she learned Smith had been jailed.

Prosecution witnesses testified that when authorities first questioned Harland about the rape, she said her attacker was a black man wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. She repeated that account later, but then changed her story and said Smith, who is white, was the rapist.
They should not have even needed the testimony of the woman's friend. If the victim changes her story because she was confused about whether the rapist was a black drug dealer or a white ex-boyfriend, then she is unreliable, at best. The ex-boyfriend should not have spent 8 months in jail.

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